The 5 Best Film Scanners in 2021

Hear this out, all of us have boxes full of old negatives and prints. But as they are old, these boxes full of memories can get damaged or lost. If you’re looking to preserve these memories, the best option to go for is a film scanner. 

 You might be thinking, “Why go for a film scanner when you can do it with a flatbed scanner or an all-in-one printer?”.

Though you can digitize films with the aforementioned mediums, a film scanner is better in every way as it can do the job accurately and with more quality. 

 There are a few things to keep an eye out for though.

Does it need a computer to run?

What resolution can it scan up to?

Does it have good software?

What are some of the supported film types and sizes?

These are some of the questions you need answers to. 

 In today’s article, we’ll be answering all these questions and much more as we discuss the best film scanners in 2021. With that being said, let’s have a look at some of the best film scanners 

 

1. Plustek OpticFilm 8200i SE 

plustek

If you’re looking for the film scanner that provides the most value and performance, the Plustek OpticFilm 8200i SE is the scanner to go for. It has all the necessary features you might need for film scanning. It also has a wonderful price tag to go along with it. 

The Plustek OpticFilm 8200i has some of the best specs for a film scanner at the moment. Let’s start by discussing the essentials first. It comes with a 7200 x 7200 dpi resolution (69 megapixels). It also has 48-bit input and 24/48-bit output. 

The Opticfilm 8200i SE is an exceptional scanner because it offers a built-in infrared channel. This channel can detect any sort of scratch and dust on the surface of the slides and negatives. After detecting the scratches and dust, it automatically removes them without retouching them. 

It can also improve the quality of the images with its 3.6 dynamic M.E functions. It also comes bundled with Plustek quick scan and laser soft imaging software. Its compatibility is versatile too as it supports all the latest and old versions of both Mac and Windows OS. 

A slight complaint we have is that it can get overheated if plugged in for too long. Giving it some rest between your work would increase its lifespan. With that said, it’s the best film scanner currently. Don’t hesitate to go for it. 

Pros 

  • A huge 7200 x 7200 dpi resolution (69 megapixels). 
  • Superb 48-bit input and 24/48-bit output. 
  • The built-in infrared channel can detect and remove any sort of scratch and dust on the surface of the slides and negatives.  
  • Automatically improve the quality of the images with its 3.6 dynamic M.E functions. 
  • Versatile compatibility with support for all the latest and old versions of both Mac and Windows OS. 
  • Provides great value for money. 

Cons 

  • Gets overheated if used for too long.

 

2. Plustek OpticFilm 8100 

plustek optic 8100

If you want something similar to the Plustek Opticfilm 8200i SE but think the price is a bit high, then you should have a look at the Plustek OpticFilm 8100. It’s quite similar to the 8200i SE without some features. 

As I mentioned before, it’s similar to the 8200i. Like the 8200i SE, it has a resolution of 7200DPI (69 megapixels). It also has a diverse 48-bit color output. It has support for both 35mm and negatives 

A unique feature of the Opticfilm 8100 is its specific suit for silver-based monochrome and Kodachrome films. This scanner can also correct scratches and lighten up dark areas without changing the high-lights and mid tones. 

The images are scanned accurately thanks to the Dynamic Range M.E technology. This technology reveals more shadow details while maintaining lower image noise in the background. It also comes with a couple of bundled software (same as the 8200i SE). It’s compatible with the latest version of both Mac OS and Windows. 

The thing we can complain about however is its lack of features compared to the 8200i SE. But keep in mind it’s also lower in price than the 8200iSE. We can confidently say that the Plustek Opticfilm 8100 is a great low-cost alternative to the 8200i SE! 

Pros 

  • A high resolution of 7200DPI (69 megapixels).  
  • A diverse 48-bit color output. 
  • A unique and specific suit for silver-based monochrome and Kodachrome films. 
  • It can correct scratches and lighten up dark areas without changing the high-lights and mid-tones. 
  • The Dynamic Range M.E technology reveals more shadow details while maintaining lower image noise in the background. 
  • Free premium software included with the bundle. 
  • Compatible with the latest version of both Mac OS and Windows. 

Cons 

  • The OpticFilm 8200i SE offers better features. 

 

3. Plustek OpticFilm 8200i AI 

plustek optik8200i

You might be wondering why I’m entering so many Plustek options into this list, this is because they provide consumers with some of the best scanners at the moment. The top of the line option is the Plustek Opticfilm 8200i AI. 

The 8200i AI is indeed the top-of-the-line choice both in terms of performance and price. This is also their most expensive scanner to date. This scanner has a built-in infrared channel similar to the 8200i SE. This channel detects any kind of dust and scratch on the surface and removes them without retouching.  

This scanner can create top-quality enlargement prints up to 36” x 24. The resolution is great too as it has a 7200 DPI resolution which puts out high-quality conversions. It also has an HDRi function. This function captures details in either 64 bit or 32-bit HDRi files. 

Another good thing about this scanner is that it features a standard IT8 Calibration Target. This feature allows the user to get color-accurate results through reduced repeated scans and extensive noise reduction. This scanner also comes bundled with Lasersoft Imaging SilverFast Ai Studio 8 which is priced at $300. 

The only problem? It’s a bit pricey. Other than that there isn’t a thing you can complain about. This printer is that great. 

Pros 

  • It has the same built-in infrared channel as the 8200i SE. 
  • The built-in infrared channel detects any kind of dust and scratch on the surface and removes them without retouching.  
  • This scanner creates top-quality enlargement prints up to 36” x 24. 
  • Up to 7200 DPI print resolution. 
  • The Standard IT8 Calibration Target allows the user to get color accurate results through reduced repeated scans and extensive noise reduction 
  • It comes bundled with Lasersoft Imaging SilverFast Ai Studio 8 which is priced at $300. 

Cons 

  • Expensive. 

 

4. Pacific Image PowerFilm 

pacific image

If you’re looking for a printer that can specifically work great for negatives then look no further than the Pacific Image power film. This scanner was aimed specifically at scanning negatives and it does so quite well. 

This scanner was designed to take care of large sums of 35mm films. This scanner creates digital files that can be searched, processed, or printed at any time. This scanner has an auto batch filmstrip scanning system thereby allowing you to set film strips to be scanned while you’re away. 

The performance of this scanner is on another level too. For a small-sized scanner, it has a stunning optical resolution of 24 inches. It also has a 48-bit data output. The resolution can reach up to 2000+ DPI in the right situation! 

Unlike most scanners, this one is both fast and efficient. It takes about 24 seconds to scan each frame. It’s quite easy to use too, All you need to do is load up the films and select settings. Nothing else!  

Though this scanner is great for 35mm films, we don’t recommend using it for other media types. If you have other media types to scan, pick another scanner. But aside from that, it’s the best 35mm film scanner out there currently. 

Pros 

  • Designed to take care of large sums of 35mm films. 
  • It has an auto batch filmstrip scanning system, so you can set film strips to be scanned while you’re away. 
  • A stunning optical resolution of 24 inches and up to 2000DPI+ resolution. 
  • This scanner is fast and efficient as it takes only 24 seconds to scan each frame. 
  • It’s very easy to use and can be used by anyone. 
  • This scanner creates digital files that can be searched, processed, or printed at any time. 

Cons 

  • Not recommended for scanning any other media types aside from 35mm.

 

5. KODAK SCANZA 

kodak scanza

Now all the scanners that we’ve mentioned so far are somewhat expensive. So if you’re looking for a budget option then have a look at the Kodak Scanza. It serves as a pure scanner and offers fairly good performance for its budget.

Though the Kodak Scanza is not your conventional film scanner, it comes with powerful specs. It has a 22MP scanner that scans and digitizes your films in seconds. It’s also compatible with a lot of formats including 35mm, 126, 110, Super 8 & 8mm negatives. 

The operation display on the other hand is large and bright. It’s a 3.5” TFT LCD. The brightness is adjustable and it has a convenient tilt which allows easy operation. A small bit that I like about this scanner is that it comes with an adapter for everything you might need. It also supports one-step scan-and-save. 

You can also easily edit the image resolution and RGB from the interface screen. You can also browse the gallery and add external drives for scanning (up to 128GB). Finally, it’s compatible with all the versions of Mac OS and Windows. 

A critical complaint you can make about this scanner is that it’s only compatible with 35mm, 126, 110, Super 8 & 8mm negatives. If you are not going to scan any formats from the ones mentioned, you shouldn’t go for it. But overall, it’s a great budget scanner. If you need this one then don’t hesitate to pick it up. 

Pros 

  • The 22MP scanner scans and digitizes your films in seconds. 
  • A large and bright 3.5” TFT LCD. 
  • It supports adjustable brightness and conventional tilt. 
  • It can easily edit the image resolution and RGB from the interface screen.
  • Supports external drives up to 128GB. 

Cons 

  • Only compatible with 35mm, 126, 110, Super 8 & 8mm negatives. 

 

Expert Advice 

 

You don’t want to get rid of all the memories right? Well, no one does. For that, the best possible scanner would be the Plustek Optic film 8200i SE. This is because of the value it provides alongside its features. 

On the other hand, if you’re looking to go all out then the 8200i AI would be the better choice and Kodak Scanza is the best budget scanner at the moment. make sure to pick the one that is appealing to you the most!.